Innovation Shorts: How Dŵr Cymru are protecting our communities for generations to come
Dŵr Cymru supplies safe and reliable drinking water to over three million customers every day, while taking away waste water to treat, before it can be safely returned to the environment. In providing these services, Dŵr Cymru depends on a huge network of assets, most of which have extremely long lives, meaning that the decisions taken today will have an important impact on customers, the economy and on the environment for many years to come.
Ensuring that the company has a long term plan to ensure they can continue to provide these services and be ready to tackle the challenges of an ever-changing environment is central to their long-term vision, ‘Our Sustainable Future’. This plan, originally published in 2007, outlines Dŵr Cymru’s vision for the next 25 years and how they strive to provide better value for money for customers.
Dŵr Cymru’s unique model not only benefits customers by ensuring all profits and reinvested in the business for the future benefit of customers, but also benefits the wider environment in its car communities. This includes delivering its best ever environmental performance in 2015, thanks to investment at its wastewater treatment works and sewer network. These play an essential role in protecting the environment and improving bathing water quality and the investment helped Wales secure 41 Blue Flags.
‘What does not-for-profit mean?’ via Dwr Cymru Welsh Water
The company is also leading the way in finding sustainable solutions to tackle challenges to environmental performance. With the company now generating around 25% of its energy needs from renewable sources on its various sites, it is also investing:
- £40 million in a sustainable draining programme – RainScape – in Llanelli and Gowerton which offers an innovative solution to tackle urban flooding and protect local communities.
- £24 million in transforming Five Fords wastewater treatment workings in Wrexham, North Wales, into an innovative Energy Park – incorporating solar photovoltaic (PV), advanced anaerobic digestion, wind and hydro generation schemes at the sites.
- Managing 14 hydro turbines at various reservoirs across Wales – worth around @20 million – has doubled the amount of renewable energy generated. These hydro schemes produce 40GWh of energy which is enough to power 9,000 homes.
“We work hard every day to make sure our water and environment is looked after for now, and for years to come. By finding sustainable and better ways of doing things, we can keep our customers’ bills down and put more money back into protecting our communities for generations to come.”
Chris Jones, Chief Executive